Help at Home unveiled its new van in a ribbon cutting ceremony at its Harrogate Community House offices yesterday (3 July).

Funders, clients, volunteers and staff gathered to officially launch the team’s new work van. This marked the successful completion of a 12 month fundraising campaign to raise the £17,500 required to replace the service’s 15 year old van with a larger fit-for-purpose van. Help at Home is part of the Harrogate Easier Living Project (HELP), which provides services to assist those who are either older, vulnerable or living with long-term ill health or disabilities to stay safe and well supported at home.

The van purchase was made possible by generous grants from the Freemasons’ Province of Yorkshire West Riding, The Knaresborough Lions’ Centennial Fund, Starbeck and Wayside Co-op, The Beatrice Laing Trust and North Yorkshire County Councillor, Jim Clark.

David Pratt, Provincial Grand Master of the Freemasons Province of Yorkshire West Riding and Pam and Robert Godsell from Knaresborough Lions were invited to cut the ribbon to officially launch the new van.

The charity received an £11,000 grant from the Provincial Grand Masters Fund. Mr Pratt said: “It was a pleasure to be invited to the ribbon cutting ceremony and to meet the HELP team, volunteers and some of the people the Help at Home service has benefitted. It was terrific to see the vehicle that our grant has helped fund, and to hear at first hand the difference it is already making to the support workers going out and about in the local community on a daily basis.”

To engage more people in the launch of the van, HELP took to social media to decide on its new name. Suggestions included Van HELPsing and Vanessa, but after a Twitter and Facebook poll the winning name was chosen and the new van was christened Van Dabi Dozi.

Frances Elliot, Head of Practical Support Services at HELP, said: “The van’s increased storage space has already made a huge difference to the team’s efficiency. Not only can the team transport bulkier items, including beds and sofas, they can also carry more items, such as bags of garden waste, in one go resulting in fewer tips runs.

“We are so grateful to everyone for their support and were delighted to welcome representatives from two of our major funders. They had the opportunity to meet the team, check out the new van and met some of the clients who have benefitted from our Help at Home service.”

Over the past 12 months, HELP has carried out 355 gardening, decorating and DIY jobs for people who can’t manage the tasks themselves, organised over 450 outings for older and disabled people to help tackle social isolation and provided over 5,000 journeys for local people who cannot access public transport due to mobility, cost or location. HELP is supported by a team of over dedicated 100 volunteers who give their time to help people maintain their independence.